Clinical academics, research funders and the NHS
The House of Lords Science and Technology Committee will hold the second evidence session of its inquiry into clinical academics in the NHS. This session will hear from practising clinical academics and executives in relevant bodies such as the Medical Schools Council, Medical Research Council and National Institute of Health Research.
The session will explore the condition of the current clinical academic workforce. The committee has heard in previous evidence sessions about the value of clinical academics, who combine their clinical roles with conducting medical research, but it has also heard that this important workforce is currently under threat. According to a report from the Academy of Medical Sciences, the clinical academic workforce is declining, both as a proportion of consultants and in absolute terms. In particular, we have heard that the pipeline for future clinical academics who are currently in doctoral and postdoctoral positions is under threat due to pressure on the NHS. We have also heard that consultants who do not have a formal university position are finding it much harder to stay engaged with research in recent years, especially post-COVID-19, which is having a detrimental impact on the health service. The session will seek to determine the causes of the pressures on clinical academics and what can be done, from the perspectives of funders and the NHS, to improve the situation.
Possible question areas
- Whether the clinical academic workforce is currently threatened by pressures on the NHS and the causes for the decline in numbers
- What should be done to secure the pipeline of future training for clinical academics in the NHS to arrest the decline
- The role of research funders in providing more flexible pools of funding for interdisciplinary careers, such as those of clinical academics
- How to harmonise and coordinate the interests of the different parties involved across academia and the NHS
- Whether the NHS is reaching its full potential as a testbed and resource for medical research and what can be done to ensure the NHS is more fully engaged with research